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Today in Nerd History | May 12

Rev your engines and sharpen your swords because today we’re celebrating the thrill of racing and the adventure of exploring mystical realms. May 12 marks the anniversaries of two monumental releases in the world of video games: the debut of “Gran Turismo” on the PlayStation in 1998, a game that set a new standard for the racing genre, and the highly anticipated release of “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” for Nintendo in 2023, a title that promises to expand the beloved Zelda universe. Let’s delve into some “Nerdy Facts” about these iconic games that have captured the hearts of players around the globe.

Inclusion on this list does not imply that the entry is family friendly, only that is was a nerd culture milestone. Parents should, of course, use discernment.
1998: Gran Turismo (PlayStation)

“Gran Turismo” raced onto the PlayStation, offering a level of realism and precision that was unparalleled at the time, fundamentally changing the landscape of racing video games.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Revolutionary Realism: “Gran Turismo” was celebrated for its realistic driving physics and attention to detail, from the accurate depiction of car performance down to the tread patterns on the tires.
  • Massive Car Roster: The game featured 140 cars, setting a precedent for comprehensive vehicle selection in racing games, allowing players to experience a wide range of driving sensations and customization options.
  • Critical Acclaim and Sales Success: “Gran Turismo” quickly became the highest-selling video game on the PlayStation, earning widespread acclaim and spawning a series that continues to be a benchmark for simulation racing games.
2023: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Nintendo)

A direct sequel to “Breath of the Wild”, in “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,” Link embarks on a quest to rescue Zelda and thwart Ganondorf’s return, armed with new abilities and exploring Hyrule’s skies and depths.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Zonai Mysteries: The game delves deeper into the lore of the mysterious Zonai tribe, revealing more about their architecture, culture, and history. It confirms that the Zonai are descendants of gods from the sky, expanding on the enigmatic ruins seen in “Breath of the Wild”.
  • Innovative Gameplay: “Tears of the Kingdom” introduces new gameplay mechanics, such as fusing objects to weapons for creative problem-solving. For example, you can fuse bomb flowers to your shield for an explosive jump or use Ultrahand and Recall together to create an elevator.
  • Direct Sequel: Unlike most games in the franchise, “Tears of the Kingdom” is a direct sequel to “Breath of the Wild”. This continuity is rare in the Zelda series, which typically features standalone stories across various timelines.

May 12 is a day to celebrate the art and innovation of video games that push the boundaries of technology and storytelling. Whether it’s mastering the perfect lap in a high-performance sports car or unraveling ancient mysteries in a sprawling fantasy world, these games challenge us to achieve greatness in every endeavor. Happy Nerd History Day to all who find joy and excitement in the virtual worlds of our favorite games!

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Station Manager of LTN Radio and co-host of the "Nerd History Podcast" & the "Two Words Podcast". Matt is a third-generation radio station manager who has done pretty much every job in the radio industry. Matt is the father of two boys and a little girl. It's probably the best thing about him.

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